The Department of Defense (DoD) has released the latest Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap (CCAR) that details the Department’s plan for managing the effects of climate change on its operations and infrastructure in both the short and long term. This roadmap, a key element of DoD’s annual update of its Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan (SSPP), specifically calls out SERDP’s work to develop climate change assessment tools for DoD’s installations.

DoD’s development of a strategic policy for climate change adaptation began in 2010 with the publication of the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) by the U.S. Secretary of Defense. The QDR importantly recognized that the impacts of climate change will shape the operating environment, roles, and missions that DoD undertakes and will necessitate adjustments to facilities, infrastructure, and training and testing activities.

Climate-related effects are already observable at DoD installations around the world. By integrating climate change considerations into its planning processes, DoD will be better prepared to effectively respond and to ensure continued mission success. Including climate change and variability considerations will enhance operational and infrastructure resilience.

To help DoD move forward strategically in its climate change adaptation efforts, the CCAR outlines four broad goals: (1) define a coordinating body to address climate change; (2) utilize a robust decision making approach based on the best available science; (3) integrate climate change considerations into existing processes; and (4) collaborate with Federal agencies and other key partners on challenges of climate change. The Roadmap also provides an analysis of climate change risks and opportunities, outlining climate change phenomena and the resultant potential mission vulnerabilities, and identifies ongoing work throughout the Department to better understand and address climate change risks and opportunities.

In addition to highlighting SERDP’s work to develop climate change assessment tools for DoD installations, the CCAR references ongoing SERDP research to anticipate the effects of sea-level rise and storm surge on coastal installations; improve observation, mapping, and prediction capabilities and identify science and technology needs in the Arctic; investigate influences of permafrost melting in Alaska on DoD operations; determine the impacts of ecosystem changes to natural resources in the southwestern United States; and predict the effects of sea-level rise, precipitation, and storm patterns on island infrastructure in the Pacific. These efforts are helping DoD improve its understanding of the potential impacts of climate change and develop effective adaptation and mitigation strategies.

To learn more about SERDP’s climate change efforts, visit